Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Matt Groom

    Okay, Piston fanboys. Tell me how this is a temporary mistake and the SAS doesn’t know anything about guns, otherwise they’d be using an H&K or a Sig, because everyone knows that the M4 and DI is unreliable.

    On a side note, I for one would like to thank The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis for taking time out of his busy day to pose for this photograph.

  • Mad World

    @ Matt your hangover comment is in poor taste seeing as the man you see in the picture is an hounoured war hero and recieved the Victoria Cross for his bravery in combat.

  • Asjadest

    Why not the Australian standard-weapon Steyr AUG? Why the M4?

  • Jay

    Heh, he does sort of look like that guy, but like bigger, and way tougher- like he could actually take a hit from Tyson…

    Relax yourself Mad World, I’m sure he’s a hard lad. A credit to all Kiwis, I’m sure.

  • SwissFreek

    Interesting that they retain the old-school carry handle and mount the AimPoint on the hand-guard.

  • Ernunnos

    A physical resemblance doesn’t detract from his valor. If anything, it should make you think twice about judging by appearances. And speaking of appearances, I didn’t know the French were using Multicam.

  • Carl

    War hero or not, he’s definitely got a distinct look going. Reminded me of Oliver Reed in Gladiator:

    Using the AR platform is a safe choice, because of its long and distinguished service history. That doesn’t neccessarily mean it’s the best choice, or that it will never be replaced by something newer and better. It just means that it is proven to be at least good enough.

  • Jeff W

    Read his Bio-That is a Bad ass warrior just leaving a up close firefight.
    New Zealand Military is pissed he was photographed because of his fame.

  • clamp

    He does look like he is a registered card carrying member of the B.M.F.C. (Bad Motha F*&@er Club)

  • Jeff
  • As a retired US vet, I want to say Thank You to the New Zealand military in general, they have stood along side the US in many conflicts and have always performed bravely and with honor. Its always good to have a “Kiwi” watching your 6.

    If you get a unit around you that does that haka thing, well that is just plain cool….warriors on the surface and warriors at heart…

  • Jason

    Extremely poor taste. Cpl. Apiata VC definitely does not look the type of individual you’d want to piss off — I’m very glad he’s one of the “good guys.” Bravo Zulu!

  • Other Steve

    And Zach Galifianakis is a pretty decent commedian so where is the offense?

    An odd comment in defense of DI systems seeing as Matt, you work for Kel-Tec that makes all piston rifles. Everyone knows pistons are the new hotness and that’s that. I’m certain both systems have a place on an AR.

    If I had a suppressed full auto SBR it would piston, no doubt. Even two of those three I would probably opt for piston. In an SPR the DI is probably much more preferred.

    Besides… the picture is obviously of Wolverine when he was in the army.

  • Matt Groom

    I’ve yet to meet a war hero who couldn’t take a good natured ribbing, especially one as clever as that was.

  • Lance

    The M-4 is a good weapon and most European countries have dumped there rifles for a the DI-syestem the accuraccy is great. I take a M-4 over a Aug or FNC any day.

  • jdun1911

    From what was reported, the picture was taken after a major firefight in Kabul against the Taliban


    It simple. Special Operators use the best weapon that are available and I can tell you one thing it’s not Bullpup design.


    He probably put it in that position because of the carrying handle. In any case putting red dot optics as far in the front is a very good idea because it give you a faster sight picture.

    The reason you don’t see it more often because of light, laser, etc. The current compromise is putting the red dot in the middle or canted forward with a mount.

  • Matt Groom

    Hey, Other Steve! SHHHHH!

    Besides, I have never accepted that my personal beliefs should be dictated by my employer’s product line. There’s nothing wrong with DI. The fact that you can get an SU-16 for less than the cost of most piston conversion kits for an AR should indicate that most companies that sell them are taking advantage of a myth that the DI system is “dirty” and “unreliable”.

    Also, as for the joke, I’m sure that Cpl. Apiata, VC, hears a lot worse than “Hey, beardy! What’s with the beard?” everyday from the anti-war left. Heroes tend to be men with intact egos.

  • jody

    anybody heard anything more about the knight’s armament PDW? the ammunition, 6×35, is supposed to perform somewhat better in the 10 inch barrel than 5.7×45 does in the M4 barrel.

  • zach

    He definitely does look like a combination of Zach Galifinakis and the 300 Gerard Butler. Mad World, how is that in poor taste? And how do you know that he was given a Victoria Cross?

  • zach

    Nevermind, read the article. Still not a big deal to say that he looks like someone famous.

  • Jon

    I think that the New Zealand SAS uses the M4 mainly because it does not single them out as Kiwis, the Australians are likewise. If they were to use the Steyr AUG then that would give the enemy the opportunity to target SAS soldiers as well as the other members of the New Zealand Defence force.

  • Bill Lester

    “I guess it would be real news if they were not!”

    Steve, Steve, Steve…ten minutes at Google Images netted these and more.
    (Kiwi SAS with FAL)
    (Kiwi SAS w/ no AR-types visible)
    (Kiwi SAS troopers w/ IW Steyrs…may they RIP)
    (Kiwi SAS with at least one IW Steyr)
    (More IW Steyrs)

    • Bill, good research!

  • subase

    The simple reason is that the logistics and supply networks of the U.S which the Australians rely on don’t have Aug’s and since aussie and kiwi special forces are the most active in Afghanistan at this time, they just trade their augs’ s for M4’s. It’s cheaper and they have been trained in their use. Not to mention the benefit from all the expertise the U.S forces has with the weapon.

  • Mad World

    As a New Zealander I do not feel that a man such as Cpl. Apiata VC should be made a mockery on a public forum, my post was not intended a personal attack on anyone.

  • Jeremy Thomson

    To Bill Lester, are you sure the last two links you gave are to NZSAS? Theres a NZ army ‘Provincial Reconstruction Team’ in Banyam province. I believe those last two links are of them thus they port Steyrs.

    That looks to be a skeleton (folding?) stock on Willie’s weapon, so not an M4?

  • Noah

    A good man can shoot anything, but I prefer a m4. Bottom line is…you can have the greatest weapon system and still suck under direst. My adivce, spend less time argueing and more time shooting.

  • Vtoroy Ruchey
  • Bill Lester


    You may be right. I can only attest to what was written in the news articles in which these photos appeared.

    Mad World,

    I tend to agree with you. With that in mind, I provide the following links to Cpl. Apiata in formal pose and uniform. I assume the second was taken during his VC ceremony or an associated event. The look of pride welling up in his face shows another side of the steely-eyed warrior in which this thread began.

    Go All Blacks!

  • Mad World

    @ Bill one of those photos with Styer rifles is of Australian personal, the second photo is indeed during thee VC ceremony. In my honest opinion the New Zealand armed forces are more than capable, its our governments unwillingness to commit fully to combat operations which sidelines all but the SAS, over here army personal literally fight to get deployed overseas, its unfortunate they are unable to do what they are trained to do, which is fight well and hard, instead they carry out UN operations.

  • Bill Lester

    Mad World,

    Thanks for the clarification. As I mentioned earlier, I can only comment on what’s written with the associated news articles. I’m sure there are even more pics of deployed NZSAS @ I just don’t have the time to look.

    As for the NZ Army as a whole, I’m sure they’ll put up a good fight wherever they go. Historically they have been among the most reliable Commonwealth troops. They’d do their country proud.

  • Destroyer

    wrong, most world SF units have not “dumped their gas piston rifles for direct impingement ones”. the SAS has always traditionally used the M4 because of their modularity and plethora of spare parts. Special forces units (and NATO forces) are mostly switching to gas piston AR15 designs and the G36 rifle. Try not to construe facts here AR15 fanboys

  • Edward

    I’m guessing that the cape and blade are due to indigenous heritage? Badass complement to his “Kiwi equivalent of Class As.”

    By the way, is there any reason that one might mount an optic at what I call the “1:30 pm position”? I notice now that there’s a weaponlight in the video with the pressure switch at the “10:30 pm position” and that he’s using the carry handle sights, but I find forward-mounted (“scout-style”) optics/positioning really interesting.

  • Marsh

    Just because an elite military unit does something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way (the SAS still uses the browning hi-power pistol for example). The military tends to be conservative in general and goes with what works or what works enough.

    Like any large organization the military isn’t always the most innovative or at the cutting edge of technology and technique. And no offense to the NZ-SAS but they probably aren’t as active as say the British SAS or the American Special Forces considering that most of their deaths happen during training rather than combat. New Zealand is a tiny country that contributes a small amount of troops whenever they feel like it to whatever conflict in order impress their more important allies and cover their 6 in case sh*t ever hits the fan one day like it did in WWII. So perhaps they’re simply out of practice when it comes to selecting a weapons system.

    Also I really wish people would stop rubbing this guys balls so much and the kiwis in general. Most New Zealanders are against the war and hate Americans in my experience. And I don’t see why he was awarded the Victorian Cross either. All he did was rescue a wounded guy under fire. Our soldiers do that every day and would be lucky to earn a Bronze Star let alone the Medal of Honor (the Victoria Cross equivalent). But I guess their standards for bravery are lower than ours since they don’t see as much combat. But hey, if the NZ government wants to create a national hero in order to make the war more popular with their citizens than more power to them.

    Back on the topic of weapon choice; the American M4 platform seems to be extremely popular with our allies special operations soldiers; including the SAS (and also with Israeli special forces). The British SAS use it. I think the AUS-SAS uses it as well and we see that the NZ-SAS also uses it. I think the M4 needs to be replaced with a more modern rifle but it’s still a good gun. It’s relatively light weight, not as reliable as the newer rifles but still decently reliable, it’s pretty cheap, it has good ergonomics, it has lots of accessories, it’s extremely accurate and it’s easy to aim since it doesn’t have a lot of weight in the front of the gun (although this NZ-SAS soldier is defeating that advantage by mounting his aimpoint way up front on the barrel; why, I have no idea…)

    I don’t see why Western militaries are so satisfied with the 5.56 round. It has horrible stopping power. We should upgrade to the 6.5 or 6.8 or invent some new and improved cartridge that’s inbetween the 5.56 and 7.62. And for the people wondering why they aren’t using guns that utilize the bullpup design; simple, the triggers on bullpup guns suck 99% of the time and thus make accurate shooting more difficult. They also create all kinds of little engineering problems like designing grenade launchers to fit them and directing the bullet casings away from the face of left handed people.

    Overall the M4 is a safe bet but I’d rather have a newer design like the Bushmaster ACR.

    • Marsh, do you really believe that the kiwis reading this blog hate Americans? Of course not. It is incredibly rude to questions the right of a solider from another countries right to a decoration. The VC is equivalent to the Medal of Honor.

  • Matt Groom

    Let me get this straight Marsh: you don’t like the Browning Hi Power? Why? It isn’t made out of plastic? Need more bullets? Can’t kill anything without a half inch bullet?

    You prefer the ACR based on what exactly? Marketing? Because it certainly doesn’t have any history to go by. It may very well be a POS. As far as I know, the SCAR is the only one of the next gen rifles that’s seen any combat, and good or ill, it certainly hasn’t had enough experience to through out a weapons system that’s been used world wide for more than 40 years.

    Also, I’m a judgmental fucker, but it seems extremely unfair to minimize that heroic actions of a soldier just because he comes from a small country. The standards for bravery are universal, because the consequence for failure is eternal. You fight for your country and culture, that’s called duty. You confront death without fear, that called bravery. You face death when you don’t have to, that’s called honor. You beat the odds and survive, that’s called luck. Doing what’s right when it’s unpopular, like fighting in a war that many in your homeland may not understand or support, seems like a credit to a person’s character, not a flaw. Give credit where it’s due.

    But I still think he looks like the dude from “The Hangover”.

  • Destroyer

    “Doing what’s right when it’s unpopular, like fighting in a war that many in your homeland may not understand or support, seems like a credit to a person’s character, not a flaw. Give credit where it’s due”

    Thats exactly what is important. Acknowledging that there are those that are willing to help us (americans) and heroism knows no nationality, ideology, or specific soil. The fact is that any SAS (whether British, Australian, or NZ) unit is among the world’s finest, honed beyond most human’s capabilities. The fallacy that “the world hates america” is being spread like wildfire when it is farthest from the truth (Just ask Haiti). The United States has many, many friends in the world.

  • Lance

    Marsh and Matt dont get so mad at each other.

    I agree with Matt the Browning HP is a good gun. Not as good as a 1911 or M-9 but for a 9mm a good gun.

    As for new guns well the ACR isnt tested but it has great potential and shoud be looked at by gun enthuisists. The SCAR hasnt been used much and what ive heard not too popular. I think the new piston ARs like the Colt Monolithic and the HK 416 and the Ruger 5.56 are much more practical for military weapons evolution.

    Thats my opion We all ahve differnt ones…. like belly buttons.

  • Marsh

    I was talking about the majority of the New Zealand population which does indeed hate Americans if you’ve ever looked at a poll. I have zero respect for that tiny, insignificant and ungrateful country and my fellow Americans would feel the same way if they knew the history between our 2 countries. We sacrificed tens of thousands of our soldiers lives in order to protect them from the Japanese and they thank us by spitting in our face and denying our naval ships entry into their ports. We should give them the good ol’ American middle finger and permenantly cut them off from all our one-sided security agreements. Why should we pay the price for their national security when they can’t even thank us for it?

    Yes, you got that right. I don’t like the Browning Hi-Power because it’s an unreliable out of date metal brick that only holds 10 9mm rounds. Call me crazy but I’d much rather have a SIG, Glock, Springfield, etc. Especially if it’s chambered in .45 due to the FMJ requirment. I agree that adopting the ACR would be a bad idea without thoroughly testing it first but my point was that I’d much rather have the latest generation of assualt rifles over the M4. The newer guns are simply better engineered. They’re usally lighter, more reliable, more durable, more ergonomic and can be more easily modified in the field – like being able to use your enemies ammo. And as far as that NZ-SAS dude goes, he may very well have earned the most prestigious military medal in the Anglosphere. But reading the account for why it was awarded honestly didn’t seem all that above the ordinary from what I’ve seen.

    • Marsh, I have never seen a poll saying they hate America. They sent troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Re: the ship, yes I think it is ridiculous, but it is a ban on all nuclear ships regardless of country.

      If you can quote a poll, sure. But please don’t turn this a hate-fest.

  • Carl

    Marsh, the Browning HP holds 13+1 rounds of 9×19.

  • Matt Groom

    @ Marsh
    My little sister was born and raised in the US of A, now lives in Berlin and hates America and Americans. If I didn’t have so much fun disproving her idiotic arguments, I’d probably have disowned her years ago. Where someone is from does not dictate what their beliefs will be, and I’m sure there are as many American hating leftists in NYC as there are in New Zealand, if not more. Also, the actions of the Political/Media class do not dictate the beliefs of the larger society. They just pretend they do.

    As Carl pointed out, the Hi Power holds 13+1, not ten rounds. The fact that you didn’t know that indicates to me that you have limited experience with the design, which few would call heavy or unreliable. They weigh about the same as a S&W model 10, and nobody calls those heavy. I had a Belgian made Gen 1.5 (sadly, lost in a tragic boating accident) that shoots like a dream with most ammo, and I have yet to find a firearm that shot 100% with every kind of ammo.

    So, basically, you dislike the Hi-Power because it’s old and “out of date”, because it’s from 1935, but you apparently love the .45 ACP round, even though that’s from 1905. Haven’t you heard? Nothing old is reliable! Abandon your out-of-date, old fashioned big bores! You must buy a 5.7×28 immediately and replace your obsolete, unreliable .45! It’s science!

  • Destroyer

    im sure the hi power is unreliable! its unreliability is the reason why it has served a hundred different countries since its creation!

  • Sway

    @ Marsh

    We turned to the UK for help against the Japanese and they left us in the cold, trust me even the children of tommorrow will reckonise and be grateful for americas help.

    The ban on ships is not really correct, its a total ban on nuclear, that goes for weapons, powerstations, ships, submarines and other things, New Zealand was the first country to discover this technology and knowing what dangers it could bring to the world ceased all work on it, The fact that our prime minister had the balls to denie your nuclear ships entry shows that even though we are tiny and apparently insignificant we will allways stand up for what we believe in despite how powerfull the other member is.

    Oh and we dont hate americans, as a NZ’der i would happily fight alongside any american.

  • Matt Groom

    A total ban on Nuclear Power? That makes even less sense to me than banning US Naval vessels!

  • Reg

    Why does not having nuclear not make any sense? We have alot of other enviromentally freindly, renewable energy sources that we use and we don’t need nuclear weapons to sleep well at night, in fact i sleep better knowing that there is nothing nuclear in my country that could meltdown, be used against us or need to be put in a corner for a few hundred years after its use.
    @ Marsh, have you ever thought its because of your attitude that kiwis don’t like you, and by you I don’t mean America in general, just you and people who think like you, you think your sh#t does’nt stink.
    We don’t pick and choose conflicts to impress big countries, we go where we see a need and where we can lend a hand, and for a country with a 2 battalion size army sending a company+ group to Afghan for 7 years as well as our own regional deployments I think we are more than pulling our weight.
    As for bagging Willies VC, well thats just the difference between us, we are not out to see whos got the biggest we just get on with the job.
    NZ is also very grateful for WWII but don’t try and say it was solely for our benefit as we were already at war before pearl harbour was attacked.

  • Adam

    @ Marsh

    New Zealanders for the most part do not hate Americans. We do however value character and honor above image & ego. That might explain why your interaction with Kiwis may have left you with such a chip on your shoulder.

    I would also like to say your comments regarding the bravery of New Zealand Armed Forces personnel show a phenomenal level of ignorance. I’m sure any American serviceman or woman that has served with Kiwis would be embarrassed & angered to have you calling yourself American.

    Before you make that mistake again I suggest you look up Rommel’s comments regarding the 28th Maori Battalion and the following link regarding the two time VC recipient Charles Upham

  • Jerry Caan

    I see and hear Willie and I reckon he could charm your mums undies off at breakfast just by asking for some fucken eggs, then by lunch he could be pushing his thumbs through your taliban eye sockets to turn your waste of a brain off.

    why do Americans even care what other countries think of you, stop wasting and stressing about it because a government does not control you, your oil companies and $ controls you.
    thats what I hate about America, the greed and the pointless loss of life and the staging of an excuse to keep the green machine ticking.

  • Grim

    They are not. Thats a Diemaco C8.
    Look at the carry handle and front sight.